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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 08:00 UK

Tories had 'veneer of compliance' on donors

The former Labour cabinet minister Jack Straw has written to the Electoral Commission to ask that they investigate the allegations made in the Sunday Times tapes regarding donations from overseas.

He told the Today programme's Evan Davis that "the law is in principle clear" on donations in that they can only come from individuals who are on the UK electoral roll or companies that trade in the United Kingdom with some caveats.

He said that in 2009 Labour introduced new laws to ensure that you can not use front organisations to disguise original source which he claimed that Conservative party were doing, citing the example of the Midlands Industrial Council.

Mr Straw said that he believed there was a "prima facie case for the Electoral Commission to investigate whether there has been a breach of rules or potentially a breach of criminal law by Sarah Southern and Peter Cruddas".

He also asked whether the Electoral Committee was satisfied that the Conservative party has "safe procedures" to vet donors.

He mentioned part of a recording when lobbyist Sarah Southern alluded to the fact that the Conservatives "operated with a light touch... a veneer of compliance".

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